MINNEAPOLIS -- As they opened U.S. Bank Stadium for football Sunday afternoon, welcoming fans inside their new stadium for the first time, the Minnesota Vikings were all about selling hope. Their quarterback certainly did his part in providing it in the Vikings' 23-10 win over the San Diego Chargers.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater got his most extensive work of the preseason after sitting out the Vikings' previous game in Seattle with a sore shoulder. He hit 12 of his 16 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown; he also turned a third-down scramble into a 22-yard gain in which he juked Adrian Phillips in the middle of the field. Bridgewater's sore shoulder was not believed to be serious last week -- sources told ESPN after the game that Bridgewater would have played in the regular season -- but after receiving rest, he showed no issues Sunday.
If history is any guide, Bridgewater will probably sit out Thursday's preseason finale against the Los Angeles Rams. What he did against the Chargers, though, suggested he's ready for the regular season.
QB depth chart: Bridgewater played the entire first half and did impressive work despite protection issues. He accounted for 74 of his 161 passing yards on a two-minute drill in which he made three impressive throws -- a 19-yard pass over the middle to Charles Johnson, a 22-yard sideline strike to Stefon Diggs and a 27-yard throw through traffic to Kyle Rudolph for the touchdown. Shaun Hill played just one series after getting the start last week in Seattle, and Joel Stave lost one of his two fumbles while playing most of the second half.
Maybe that dude could start: He won't be the team's top running back once the season begins, but Jerick McKinnon showed again he's capable of playing a big role in the Vikings' offense. He flashed his impressive speed and some nice moves on a nifty, 35-yard run, finishing with 63 rushing and receiving yards on nine touches. If something were to happen to Adrian Peterson, the Vikings would have a solid option in McKinnon -- and as long as Peterson's healthy, they'll be able to use McKinnon in different ways.
Who got hurt? Safety Antone Exum was carted off for X-rays on his leg after he was injured on a first-half kickoff return. Tight end MyCole Pruitt limped off after fumbling in the end zone in the third quarter, as athletic trainers examined his left leg. Defensive end Everson Griffen, who didn't practice Friday, also didn't play.
A surprise player who impressed: Defensive end Justin Trattou has managed to hang around with the Vikings for the better part of three seasons, and even though he was released at one point last season, he managed to pick off two passes in five games of work. He has put together impressive preseasons in Minnesota before, and he stood out again Sunday, logging two sacks and forcing a fumble. He has a strong chance to make the team and could get himself into the defensive end rotation.
When it was starters vs. starters, the Vikings looked ... Impressive on offense, though they could have put more points on the board had they been able to finish two drives in the red zone. Defensively, the Vikings allowed Melvin Gordon's 39-yard touchdown run after missing him on a blitz and gave up Rivers' 25-yard pass to Danny Woodhead. But the unit largely limited the Chargers' big plays. Harrison Smith also recorded the first interception in U.S. Bank Stadium history after Trae Waynes helped break up a pass that bounced off Keenan Allen's hands.
One reason to be concerned: You've heard it before, and we'll begin by noting that left tackle Matt Kalil -- who said Friday he's "resting up some little things" -- didn't play Sunday. John Sullivan, who's competing for the starting center job with Joe Berger, also didn't play. But the Vikings' performance this preseason hasn't done much to scuttle concerns about their pass protection issues, and Bridgewater was sacked three times. Corey Liuget squeezed between T.J. Clemmings and Alex Boone on a stunt to end one drive. Another sack came after Bridgewater tripped on Brandon Fusco's feet.
U.S. Bank Stadium packed for debut: The Vikings announced attendance at 66,143 for their first game at their new home, the highest attendance for a home game in team history. That's to be expected, given the fact the stadium has the largest capacity of any of the Vikings' four homes, but the $1.1 billion stadium was packed by kickoff. Fans reported issues with long lines, particularly in the upper concourses of the stadium, and there's little doubt logistical issues remain before the Vikings' next preseason game Thursday. But with natural light filling the stadium on a Sunday afternoon, the new facility impressed as a venue for football.
Red zone shows off Treadwell: First-round pick Laquon Treadwell entered the game late in the first half. He showed how he could make a quick impact after snagging a two-point conversion from Shaun Hill. Hill threw a fade for the Mississippi product in the third quarter, and Treadwell leaped to take the ball away from cornerback Trevor Williams. It was a good display of the size and physicality that attracted the Vikings to Treadwell. Even if he's not playing in the first-team offense right away, he could be an early factor in red zone situations.